Got my first pre-approval on a mortgage loan, for an amount much larger than I thought I would.

At first glance, it looks like more than my conservative mind would think is reasonable to spend on a mortgage/home. (On another note, I now see where all the housing economic problems start...).

Nevertheless, where can I find a spreadsheet or program that will help me plan a detailed budget based on mortgage costs, taxes, possible HOA's, required home insurances, etc along with income and all other budgeted costs, income tax, etc - to see what I truly can afford on a mortgage?

Please note I have searched and found basic budget calculators but I'm specifically looking for something more accurate and detailed to mortgage budgets.

Thank You.

  • Advice that resonates with my experience suggests aim for 25% of net income for house payment (PITI). You will spend other money on the housing (lawn maintenance, repairs, paint, improvements), but those expenses can be planned and delayed. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 20:59
  • Our first home had a HOA, and the fees were adjusted annually. You should be able to request a history of fees, but realize that your neighbors can vote to raise those fees. My fees were $400-500/year, but I have known people who had annual fees of $1200-1800. A condominium association can assess you even more. And I know someone who pays nearly $3000/year. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


Regarding property taxes: Pick a house you like in a neighborhood you like then, go to the city/county website and look up the tax assessment (what the house is worth), and the tax rate for residential real estate. Assessments are public record.

HOA dues could be anything from nothing to hundreds of dollars a month. It depends on what amenities the neighborhood has. The type of neighborhood will also influence the rate. A condo/townhouse community has lots of roads, and land owned and buildings owned by the HOA. All that infrastructure needs to be maintained, plowed, cut; plus money needs to be reserved to replace all that stuff in the future. It may be possible to get that info for the neighborhoods you are interested. When you are looking at listing this information should be included. When you are ready to make an offer, you will be provided copies of the documents and the budget.

Property Insurance. Ask your agent for an estimate for some houses you like. The process is automated on their end.

Your principal and interest amounts are determined by your loan approval.

The old rule before the last housing bubble was that PITI ( principal, interest, taxes, and Insurance) was to be no greater than 28% of your income. This was considered a safe level. That did assume that you itemized. It also assumed that your other debts (car loan, school loan, credit card debts) could be held to less than 10%.

Note that you don't have to get the maximum loan amount. Some flexibility is good.

  • When I purchased my first home, the 28% rule seemed to make sense, but now I consider 25% of net income a good target, basically paying your house payment using 1 week's income. You should keep your other debts below 10% of net income (recommendation). Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 4:24

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